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THE LIFE OF MA COMPARED TO A SHADOW.
BY BEJAMI KEACH
" He fleeth also as a Shadow, and continueth not,'' Job xiv. 2.
** For what is your Life; it is even a vapour, that appeareth for a IHtle
time, and then
vanisheth away,'' Jam. iv. 14.
The learned observe three sorts of Shadows. 1. atural. 2. Civil. 3.
I. A atural Shadow is a daric light, caused by the coming of some thick
een us and the sun. This is a Shadow in a proper and strict acceptation.
956 THB LIFE OF MA COMPARKD TO A SHADOW. [p^OOK IV.
2. By ciyil Shadow, we onderstand protection, defence, or safety, Isa. xlv.
3. Spiritual Shadow, is taken for a dark and imperfect representation of
So all the ceremonies of the law of Moses are called Shadows.
The whole Life of Man is but as a Shadow. " My days are like a Shadow
clineth," Col. ii. 17, Heb. viii. 5, and x. 9, Psal. cii. 11.
I. A Shadow is next to nothing ; what is there in a natural Shadow ? So
what is the
Life of Man ? he rather seems to Uve, than lives. A Shadow you know is
opposed to a
II. A Shadow is a very uncertain thing. So is the Life of Man. The
Man may be under now, may, before he is aware, be gone. A Shadow is as
uncertain a thing, as any thing in the world. '* Our days on earth are as
1 Chron. xxix. 15. How is it there is no abiding, no certainty of our Lives ?
III. A Shadow is very swift in motion ; what flies more swiftly than a
Shadow ? as
common experience shows. So the Life of Man is gone in a moment, like
lightning ; a
dream, a bubble, the flower of the field, or a flying Shadow. Our days on
eaiih are as a
Shadow ; that is, they fly swiftly away like as a Shadow, and there is no
vapour is much of the nature of a Shadow.
First, from all these similitudes we may infer, that the Life of Man is very
days swiftly pass away.
'' Man that is bom of a woman is of few days, &c. He comes up like a
is cut down ; he fleeth as a Shadow, and continueth not. His Life is like
wind, like a
cloud or vapour," &c. All swift and fleeting things.
" Behold thou hast made my days as an Hand-breadth," Psal. xxxix. 5.
extent of the breadth of an hand is but a span ; the lesser extent only four
which the measure of Man's Life is compared.
I. Man's Life is short in comparison of those who lived before t£e flood ;
lived near a thousand years.
II. Much shorter when compared with the Life of God, who is from
beginning and without ending.
Secondly, This may stir us all up, or be a great motive to us to improve
our time. ** This I say, brethren, the time is short."
I. Be persuaded your days are few. It is easy to say it, but hard to believe
live in the sense of it. The child hopes to be a Man ; a Man hopes to be an
old Man ;
and he that is very old hopes to live yet many days.
II. Be persuaded thy days are uncertain ; when thou liest down, thou
whether thou shalt rise any more or no ; when thou goest out, thou
knowest not whether
thou shalt return any more or no. What a small tlung may take away thy
III. Learn from hence to get a true measure of your days. David desired a
of his days, that he might know how frail he was. Some do not measure
their days by
the King's standard ; they measure their days by the Life of their
progenitors. My fa-
ther and my grand-father, saith one, lived so long, and why may not I live
as long zi
they did ? Others measure their days by their present health and strength
: others by
the sound and healthy constitution of their bodieft. J^ow these things are
not a fit nor
lawful measure of your days, but rather those things of which you have
the weaver's shuttle, the morning dew, the flower of the field, the early
cloud, the shadow
and vapour that flieth away.
IV. This may reprove and show the folly of many wicked Men, who like
rich Man in the Gospel, say in their hearts, *' We have goods laid up for
take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry," do., Luke xii. 19. " Then:
is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling-places to
Psal. xlix. 11.
y. It may tend to strengthen the godly under afflictions. Let them strive to
up with patience. All their days are but few, and therefore the days of
sorrow cannot be
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